Watson, a name.

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I don’t often start off an article with a quote. But I think I can make an exception for the classic line from the Beard of Avon, Will Spearshaker. “What’s in a name? A rose, by any other name, would still cost a fortune on Valentine’s eve.”

Or something to that effect. Look. I never said I was awesome at quoting people. But the Beard basically said that names don’t matter, that the essential qualities of people and things would remain the same no matter what they are called. Well, with all due respect to the Beard, I have to say…

What’s that? He’s not called the Beard? He’s actually called the ‘Bard of Avon’?? The bard?? Are you sure? Really??

“but.. but…dammit! Just look at that magnificent beard!”

Well!! Anyway, with all due respect to the BARD (ugh), the name is pretty important. Just try to convince Jack Goff, Mike Litoris, Anita Dick, Willie Stroker and Ben Dover that names don’t matter. I have an idea their lives would have been radically different had they all been called Steve instead… For one thing, it would have reduced the number of people who snickered like third graders every time they introduced themselves.

“Don’t ‘Anita’ me. I said my name is Steve, and that’s that!”

No, no, no. Your name is important. It is, in fact, the first ever gift your parents gave you. And it shapes your future in ways that you don’t fully appreciate. Studies indicate that your name can determine how well you perform in schools, the type of search results Google dishes out to you, the political leanings of your parents and your career prospects. I can also pretty much guarantee that oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o would have had a few more casting calls if some of the directors could have pronounced her name correctly. Also, if you name your child Chad, you’ve basically doomed him to life as a douchebag.

As some of you know, I am at the precipice of parenthood, and I will have my own little human packed and delivered over the coming month. As my first act as a dad, I have to pick a name, and it has been much harder than I initially thought.

Ideally, I want the name to reflect my son’s preferences and tastes. However, this is hampered by the fact that he doesn’t have those yet. Being ‘minus one month’ old can do that to you. Therefore, I have to pick a name that reflects MY preferences. My family has rudely vetoed my primary preference – “Cozam Batman”. My second idea was a placeholder until he got old enough to choose his own – but my folks were dead against the name “Lorem Ipsum”. My brother threatened to sue for cruelty and child abuse if I went with my third choice “printf(“hello, world”;)”

I guess he's right. Such an unrhymable name would shut down his prospects as a rapper.depositphotos.com

He feels such an unrhymable name would shut down his prospects as a rapper.

They wanted me to stick to something slightly more conventional. Fine. I still wanted something that represented my interest in pop culture, yet not be too on-the-nose. I briefly considered ‘Watson’. But with all due respect to BBC’s Martin Freeman version, you CAN’T have the name Watson without sporting a Victorian era mustache. And those things just look HORRIBLE on babies.

You find this cute now, but try teething with that thing on, and it gets weird, like super quick.depositphotos.com

You find this cute now, but try teething with that thing on, and it gets weird, like, super quick.

While no name has been fixed, the running favourite right now is Ethan. It definitely fits the mold of a conventional name, and its surge in popularity over the last two decades is recent enough to be ‘modern’. Plus, it was popularized through a pop culture icon: Ethan Hunt from the Mission Impossible franchise.

The trouble is that, for every trivial task that I’d eventually thrust on him, I doubt if I could resist quoting from the franchise. If ever, he comes to me with a difficult problem, I’d bet even money that I’d respond with “This isn’t Mission Difficult, Ethan. It’s Mission Impossible. Difficult should be a walk in the park for you.”

It would affect everything… including how I look at stuffed animals hung above the crib.

If I need to tell him to eat his vegetables, or do his homework, or brush his teeth, it is all but impossible for me to avoid prefacing it with “Your mission, should you use to accept it…” And that’s a problem. If you raise a kid with an implied option to refuse his ‘missions’, that kid is never eating his veggies again.

I mean, what’s the protocol if an agent refuses to accept a mission? The MI franchise doesn’t really cover that, does it?

For once, I'd like the mission to be to infiltrate Scientology. Accept or reject, his reaction would be interesting.Mission Impossible 2 | Paramount Pictures

For once, I’d like the mission to be to infiltrate Scientology. Accept or reject, his reaction would be interesting.

If not Ethan, then what? I don’t know. What do I pick? What if I screw up? What if I pick a name that will gain notoriety over the next decade? What if I pick a name that’s his generation’s version of Chad? What if he shares his name with his generation’s Trump? It’s… just too much responsibility.

There’s only one thing to do. I’m going to print out all the potential names on individual bits of paper, spread them around on the floor at random, and just gently wade him into the pool of names. Whatever name he picks from the bunch – that’s gonna be his name. It would be his choice.

Unless he just picks a dozen random names and chews them all up. Then I’ll be forced to name him Chad.

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5 Responses

  1. Rhea says:

    Omg Hamish, congratulations!!! You are going to have a lot more fodder for future posts now 😀 btw, I love the name Ethan! 😀

    • Profile photo of hammy hammy says:

      @rhea:
      Thank you. Fodder for future posts – that’s why we’re having him, after all. Lot riding on him; He better be funny.

      Ethan’s not fixed yet, but hey, no real competing names so far. 😉

  2. OMG, it’s so true. By giving a child a redunkuos name will really set them up for failure. I actually wrote a post about that. What I think is hysterical is there are some Ben Dovers, and Mike Litoris out there in the world. Their parents should be beaten until they’re hardly recognizable for doing that. Congrats on the baby coming. Ethan’s a nice name. I’m happy you didn’t decide on Morris or Milton.
    Stacey Loring recently posted..Unisex Dresing Rooms Are Not OkayMy Profile

    • Profile photo of hammy hammy says:

      @stacey loring:
      I missed your post on that. I’ll check it out.
      Morris or Milton? God forbid. Maybe back in Spearshaker’s time, it would have been ok. But today? Today, I think there are laws against this sort of thing. If not a criminal offence, at least a statement of character.
      “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Sure, he may look like an upstanding member of society, documenting his contributions to charity. But… the state is going to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that this fiend in sheep’s clothing, in the summer of 2016, named his son Milton.” GASP!!!

  1. August 29, 2016

    […] tip that I learned from my first week as a dad. It concerns finding the right name for your kid. I wrote earlier about my search for a name. At that point, we were considering ‘Ethan’, but due to some internal copyright […]

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